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Corporates in the United States installed nearly 19 GW of onsite and offsite solar capacity cumulatively till June 2022. This includes 25 leading U.S.-based companies like Meta, Amazon, and Walmart installing 14% of the overall capacity.
The recently released ‘Solar Means Business 2022’ report by the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) attributes the rapid expansion of offsite-solar procurement, which represents 55% of all commercial solar use, to the increase in installed capacity by U.S. businesses.
Meta has installed the highest solar capacity of 3.6 GW through June 2022, three times more than its closest counterpart Amazon at 1.1 GW. The solar energy offtake of the tech giant has grown by over 380% since 2019-end.
Further, a 51% drop in solar energy prices since 2012 has fuelled commercial demand.
There are now 23 U.S. companies that have installed at least 100 MW of solar capacity, up from 11 companies in 2019. Eighteen of the top 25 companies ranked in this report are pursuing 100% renewable energy or carbon-neutral goals.
Walmart stands fourth on the list, with 689 MW capacity installed until June.
Retailer Target came behind Microsoft at the first spot for installing 515 MW of solar capacity as nearly 30% of its stores are equipped with rooftop solar systems. Walmart and Target together are leading in the number of individual solar systems installed.
The passage of the Inflation Reduction Act is also one of the major contributing factors, as it will support both onsite and offsite solar markets.
The report points out that the Act is expected to boost the onsite market by 24% until 2027, while the offsite markets will likely grow by 51% over the next five years.
The report states that the onsite commercial market’s average annual growth rate will go up by 11% between 2023-27. The utility-scale market, which includes 20-25% of the offsite corporate market, is set to grow by 45% by 2027.
“From data centers to industrial freezers, the most energy-intensive business operations are turning to solar as the most reliable and affordable way to power their infrastructure,” said SEIA President and CEO Abigail Ross Hopper.
The report said the competitive power prices from utility-scale projects have ensured that the prices of offsite systems have also moved downwards.
Another joint report by SEIA and Wood Mackenzie published earlier this year said overall solar installations across all market segments in the U.S. will increase to 336 GW by 2027 from 129 GW currently.